The 2021 JUNO Awards nominations were annunced on March 9, and The Weeknd leads the pack with six nominations, while Jessie Reyez and JP Saxe follow closely with five each. The Weeknd’s and Reyez’s nominations include one each for Artist of the Year, and the latter earned two nods in the Music Video of the Year category as well. Saxe’s nominations nominated include Single, Breakthrough Artist, and Pop Album of the Year.

Among the nominees are:

Songwriter of the Year, presented by SOCAN
The Weeknd
Jessie Reyez
JP Saxe
Alessia Cara
Alanis Morissette

Classical Composition of the Year
Alexina Louie  – Take The Dog Sled
Ana Sokolović – Commedia dell’arte
Anna Höstman – Harbour
Samy Moussa – Violin Concerto “Adrano”
Zosha Di Castri – Tachitipo

Francophone Recording of the Year
2Frères – À tous les vents
Klô Pelgag – Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs
Les Cowboys Fringants – Les antipodes
Louis-Jean Cormier – Quand la nuit tombe
Pierre Lapointe – Pour déjouer l’ennui

Indigenous Artist or Group of the Year
Burnstick – Kîyânaw
Crystal Shawanda – Church House Blues
Julian Taylor – The Ridge
Leela Gilday – North Star Calling
Terry Uyarak – Nunarjua Isulinginniani

Producer of the Year Nominees include Wondagurl, Murda Beatz, and triple-Grammy-nominee Kaytranada.

In the press conference after the announcements, a handful of nominees answered journalists’ questions. Jessie Reyez, whose five nominations resulted from the music of an album that she almost didn’t release because of the pandemic, said, “It was nerve-wracking at the time… I’m happy that we weren’t moving in fear. I’m also proud of my team, because we were walking into the unknown. We had no idea what was going to happen.”

Five-time nominee JP Saxe – whose co-write with Julia Michaels, “If the World Was Ending,” became a huge viral hit, and one of the anthems of the pandemic – said of his conversational writing style, “The only thing I’m interested in being is honest… It usually results directly from journaling, or if it’s a co-write, from a conversation.”

Budding pop superstar Tate McRae said, of her multiple nominations, “It’s a bit of a pinch-me moment… [In one case] I’m in the same category as The Weeknd, which is mind-blowing. I’m just very, very grateful.”

Asked about vulnerability in her songwriting, double-nominee Savannah Ré said, “Vulnerability is one of the pinnacles, and I think it’s imperative to go there… It’s really, really, really important.”

The 2021 JUNO Awards will take place May 16, with live performances streamed via CBC Music, and broadcast on CBC-TV, from the Budweiser Stage in Toronto – and possibly other venues across Canada, as the JUNOs try to support a live music community so damaged by the pandemic.

For a complete list of nominees, click here.

Valence, winner of the 2020 edition of the Francouvertes competition, kicked off this 25th Anniversary edition of the annual event with a short but explosive performance at Montréal’s Lion d’Or club. Due to the health measures still being enforced, the seven evenings of the preliminaries of the 2021 edition will be held without an audience and live-streamed on Thanks to a brand-new integrated voting platform, the audience will not only be able to view the performances, but also read the lyrics of the artists’ songs, consult the program, vote, and comment on the performances.

Once again, SOCAN will be part of the event by presenting the “Skátne” series of performances. The purpose of this series is to give greater prominence to First Nations and Inuit artists and their languages. The guest artists will be:

  • Laura Niquay (March 15)
  • Anachnid (March 16)
  • Sylvia Cloutier (March 22)
  • Kanen (March 23)
  • Sandrine Masse-Savard (March 29)
  • Samian (March 30)
  • Willows (April 5)
  • Matiu (April 26)
  • Dan-Georges McKenzie (April 27)
  • Scott-Pien Picard (April 28)

SOCAN will also present the Prix Paroles & Musique SOCAN, a $1,000 cash prize to be awarded to one of the semi-finalists, in recognition of the writing talent behind the creation of their song. The cash prize also comes with a one-week writing residency at the SOCAN House in Paris. These prizes are part of a plethora of rewards, grants, and concert opportunities to be handed out this year.

There will be seven preliminary evenings held at the Lion d’Or every Monday from Feb. 17 to March 30.

The contestants of the preliminary round are:

The Francouvertes hope to be able to present the semi-finals (April 26, 27 and 28) and the final at Club Soda (May 17) in a hybrid format, live with an audience, and streamed online.
To find out more about the 25th edition of the Francouvertes, visit (French only).

SOCAN presented a screen composing panel at the 21st annual Kingston Canadian Film Festival, on March 6, 2021, in Kingston, ON.

The workshop, moderated by SOCAN A&R Representative Melissa Cameron-Passley, featured Martin Macphail, member of the award-winning trio Blitz//Berlin, which has worked on films like BirdBox, The Girl on the Train, Bad Times at the El Royale, Fifty Shades of Grey, Top Gun: Maverick, and the Blade Runner 2049 prequel Nexus Dawn. Attendees were also joined by Australian-Canadian composer Michelle Osis and music producer and screen composer Terry Benn, who together scored the music for BLOODTHIRSTY, which played at the festival this year.

The panel was designed to help those looking to get started in film scoring by providing an overview of important first steps. The panelists shared their stories about how they broke into the film world as musicians. And attendees took full advantage of the many opportunities to participate and ask questions.